Apple just made a few big updates to its $350 HomePod smart speaker — here's everything that's new
- The update — which is free and available for download now for anyone with an iPhone 5S or later — includes a few key updates to HomePod, Apple's $349 smart speaker.
- Here's everything that's new with HomePod. Apple added a new feature to help you out in those instances where you can't remember the name of a song.
- While you could use the HomePod as a speaker phone, you were required to use your iPhone to begin and end a call.
- Now, incoming calls will be automatically routed to your HomePod, and you can ask Siri to pick up the phone.
- Apple added a new iPhone app with iOS 12: Siri Shortcuts, which uses Siri to simplify your life.
- If you create a custom shortcut, you can ask for Siri to perform it using HomePod.
Apple releases first iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1, and watchOS 5.1 betas
- As of now, the beta versions are shipping with bare details, noting only that they contain “bug fixes and improvements.” The first point releases of new Apple OS versions often contain features that were left out of the major release at the last moment, so Group FaceTime — a feature that Apple has promised for fall release — is likely to appear in iOS 12.1.
- It does not appear that developers will need to update the beta certificates on iOS 12 iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, or Apple Watches to see the new betas through the Software Update menus on previously registered devices.
- On a related note, Apple has not yet released the final version of macOS Mojave, which is expected to debut on September 24.
- It’s likely that the first point release for that operating system will similarly arrive within a day of the final.
World of Warships: Das Boot — submarines will launch in 2019
- Wargaming is about to introduce submarines in World of Warships, the multiplayer World War II naval ship shooter that has more than 1.5 million monthly active players.
- The developers will also redo aircraft carriers in a way that makes planes and ship combat more accessible to players, according to a briefing by Alexander Nikolaev, publishing director for North America for World of Warships.
- Nikolaev said at a briefing in San Francisco, near the USS Pampanito, a World War II-era Balao-class submarine turned into a floating museum on Fisherman’s Wharf.
- The aircraft carrier player will control a single squadron of bombers or torpedo planes, dropping payloads on ships.
- If players really don’t like the changes that Wargaming makes to the carriers and submarines, then they will be eligible for refunds.
You Think the Visual Studio Code Binary You Use Is Open Source? Think Again
- Microsoft uses here a simple but clever trick allowed by the license of the code source of Visual Studio Code: the MIT license, a permissive Free Software license.
- And of course Microsoft does not use purposely the MIT license for the binary of Visual Studio Code.
- I may be wrong (again I’m not a lawyer), but it seems to me they forbid you to redistribute this binary, except for the conditions mentioned in the INSTALLATION AND USE RIGHTS section (mostly for the need of your company or/and for giving demos of your products using VSC).
- About the GNU/Linux distributions, packaging VSC (see here for the discussion in Debian) would be a great way to avoid people being abused by the Microsoft trick in order they use a « product » breaking almost any term of what makes a Free Software.
Twitter now lets you switch between algorithmic 'best tweets' and a real-time feed
- The announcement detailed a future that includes switching back and forth between an algorithmically sorted timeline and one that shows all tweets from your followers, in reverse-chronological order, much like the one Twitter launched with in 2006.
- Prior to the update, unchecking the box meant the feed would display tweets reverse-chronologically, but with the Show the best Tweets feature up top, and the real-time tweets shown below.
- Our goal with the timeline is to balance showing you the most recent Tweets with the best Tweets you’re likely to care about, but we don’t always get this balance right.
- In the future, this update to boost visibility and make the feature to access could pave the way for an easy system to toggle between curation and a real-time feed without all the bloat.
Apple's iBooks revamp, Apple Books, is here
- Apple’s new and improved iBooks app, now called Apple Books, has popped up on iPhones across the world today with the release of iOS 12, the software update available to download as of this morning.
- The new app has five tabs: Reading Now, Library, Book Store, Search and, for the first time, a dedicated Audiobooks tab.
- The company said its sleek new look was the “biggest books redesign ever.” Cleaner UI, coupled with larger images, gives the app a more modern feel and an overall better experience.
- In the Book Store, users can explore recently released titles and best-selling books, as well as curated collections and special offers; it’s available in 51 countries and free books for download are available in 155 countries.
- Audiobooks are more popular today than when Apple first launched iBooks in 2010 and are very much deserving of their own tab.
Amazon takes on The Honest Company with new brand of eco diapers, Earth + Eden
- Last November, Amazon quietly re-entered the diapers market with the launch of its own private label diapers under the Mama Bear brand – its first diaper brand since pulling its Amazon Elements line back in January 2015.
- Now, Amazon has added a new, exclusive premium diapers brand, this time under the new name of Earth + Eden.
- Unlike Mama Bear, which is the Amazon equivalent to something like Pampers, Amazon’s Earth + Eden appears to be more of a competitor to premium diapers, like those sold on Honest.com.
- While its Amazon Elements line of wipes had achieved a 14% market share as of the time the Mama Bear brand of diapers launched last November, those same diapers are currently the #46 best-seller in their category.
- Update, 9/17/18, 5:30 pm et: Post updated shortly after publication, as Amazon reached out to clarify the brand is a new exclusive product to Amazon.com, but is not a private label.
Five security settings in iOS 12 you should change right now
- Here’s what you need to do to take advantage of the new settings and lock down your device.
- This difficult-to-find new feature prevents any accessories from connecting to your device — like USB cables and headphones — when your iPhone or iPad has been locked for more than an hour.
- That prevents police and hackers alike from using tools to bypass your lock screen passcode and get your data.
- Then, scroll down and ensure that USB Accessories are not permitted on the lock screen, so make sure the setting is Off. Every time your iPhone or iPad updates, it comes with a slew of security patches to prevent crashes or data theft.
- If someone steals your password, they still need your phone to break into your account.
- You may be asked to switch on two-factor when you set up your phone.
iOS 12 is now available to download
- The update is currently rolling out and is available both over-the-air in the Settings app, and by plugging your device into iTunes for a wired update.
- Make sure your iCloud backup is up to date by opening the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and tapping on your account information at the top and then on your device name.
- Additionally, you can also plug your iOS device to your computer to do a manual backup in iTunes (or do both, really).
- The other big theme of the year is new features to help you spend less time using your phone.
- There’s a new Screen Time feature to see and control how much time you spend using each app.
- While you download the update, why don’t you head over to my review and read about all the new features in iOS 12.
iOS 12 review: the fixes are in
- It’s a new dashboard that Apple is adding to the Settings menu, which gives you a whole bunch of really granular details on exactly how much time you spend on your phone or tablet, and which apps you’re spending it on.
- It’s also pretty similar to Google’s Digital Wellbeing dashboard that the company is adding in its own major annual update, Android 9 Pie. Screen Time doesn’t just give you data on how you use your phone, though — it gives you tools to manage that use.
- Still, even if there’s room for improvement, it’s good to see that Apple is at least starting to think about the issue and offer ways to address it, even if Screen Time in its current form is more concerned with noting that phone overuse is a problem rather than fixing it.